Hoping to power on after the Bank Holiday triumph over Stamford, Grantham Town are expecting a crowd of more than 1,000 at The Meres on Saturday for the visit of FC United of Manchester.
A four figure attendance will be an early boost to the Gingerbreads’ finances, though it is thought it will not beat the 1,200-plus achieved at the same fixture last season.
Grantham have had talks with police, following an outbreak of trouble last year when one spectator was ejected, and they have backed the reinforced segregation and more security proposals the club will put in place for what is likely to be their biggest turnout of the season. Under-16s will get to see the big game free, if accompanied by an adult paying the full £10.
Joint managers Ian Robinson and Gary Sucharewycz hope to have Paul Lister back after injury, and confirmed central defender Adie Hawes’ knee problem which forced him off against The Daniels. But hey will be missing Emeka Nwadike through suspension for the next two games.
With two wins and two defeats, Grantham have started this season much better than last and Robinson said it was to be a real test of how far they had progressed on Saturday: “There is no doubt they will be in contention for promotion, so it will be a good test. But I don’t see anyone running away with the title. The squad with the right depth to keep clean sheets and turn a few draws into wins will probably be the one to do it.
“We have got a stronger squad this year. We’ve made progress because now we have 19 players who can each make the starting 11, but it does not leave us much room if we get a string of injuries, so we need a bit of luck.”
Without putting too much pressure on his squad, Robinson said the club expected consolidation at least this season after last year’s flirtation with relegation.
New goalkeeper Dan Haystead has certainly made an impression, after saving penalties in successive matches.
“He’s been fantastic for us,” said Robinson. “And he’s a great character too, so we are definitely stronger at the back.”
Unfortunately the save on Monday led to a throw-in and then to a Stamford goal. Robinson commented: “That’s what you get sometimes with a young squad. They switch off.
“It was a sloppy goal, but we have probably ended up with what we deserved from the first four games.
“We may go 4-3-3 against United because they play that way and like to get the ball down and play; it would be good to match them and see where we are and the crowd can help with that if they get behind us, because you need confidence to play that way. A big crowd will be a big help.”